TOKELAU PREPARES FOR INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM

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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Jan. 6) – A voter education workshop is being organised next week in Tokelau to prepare voters for the first ever national referendum next month.

The Tokelau population of 1,500 will decide whether to be self governing or remain in free association with New Zealand.

The vote will take place between February 11 - 15, beginning in Apia, Samoa, before moving to the three islands in Tokelau.

A number of international organisations and governments, including New Zealand and the United Nations, will observe the referendum

If the result is in favour of self-determination, the New Zealand parliament will repeal the Tokelau Act of 1948 and the two governments will sign a Treaty of Free Association with Tokelau no longer being a colony.

January 9, 2006

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

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